Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tire Tracks Through Autumn Leaves

The weather was in rare form this past weekend. High temperatures and sunny skies felt like a gentle nudge from mother nature, telling me to get outside before winter arrives. After spending such little time on my bike this year I had been itching for some extra motivation. Over the past couple weeks I kept telling myself to get out, even marking good riding days in my planner, but never followed through. I knew I was running out of time for outdoor rides and by November 1st I figured it was too late. So when I saw the weather forecast for this past weekend, I knew it would be my last real chance.

My dad and I managed to carve out time on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's ride was a short fifteen miles, but both of us were happy to be done by that point. I had waited too long since my last ride and my muscles felt sluggish. The views were beautiful and there were several times when I wished I could capture the scenery around me without having to stop. When I'm riding I just want to keep going and the idea of stopping to take a picture seems counterproductive. Still, riding along a path covered in yellow leaves or through a section lined with colorful trees makes me want to bottle those moments to share with everyone.

After the ride, and helping to clean up leaves at my grandpa's house, we made one last trip to The Dairy Lodge for the season. A cookie dough flurry made the perfect reward for the day's hard work!

On Sunday I felt terrible in the beginning. My whole body was sore and I had bruises from the ungraceful moment on Saturday when I fell over at one of the intersections. Thankfully after a mile or so my butt stopped hurting and my muscles warmed up. Not only did we keep a faster pace on the second day, we rode farther (twenty miles instead of fifteen), and we managed to climb a few hills on our way home.

Most of my thoughts lately have been consumed by the idea that I'm not enough. I have been overwhelmed with this feeling of failure, and I'm afraid I have been making all the wrong choices. A feeling of dissatisfaction makes me wish I were anywhere else but here. When I'm on my bike though, there's no where else I'd rather be. It's difficult to feel unsatisfied while surrounded by this beautiful place I get to call home. Deep down I know riding my bike doesn't solve any of my problems, but in those moments I no longer worry about where I am or how much money is in my bank account. All I want is to keep pushing myself forward. I climb those hills to prove to myself that I am strong enough, and when I make it to the top I have one less reason to say I am not a failure.

- S

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